The Welcome Project

The Welcome Project was started in Leicester in 2002 to offer a Christian response to the needs of asylum seekers and refugees, who a few years ago were arriving in Leicester in large numbers. The first weekly drop-in was at Leicester Cathedral, where people could come for company and support, for help with form-filling and interpretation (often their English was poor, and the project recruited a number of interpreters) and for food, toiletries and phone cards.

Before long it became clear that a second centre was needed, for women and children only. This was opened at the Church of the Martyrs (one of our Cluster partners) on Tuesday afternoons.

St Peter’s has supported the Welcome Project since 2003, with annual gifts of money and collections of food and toiletries. Nappies are a never-ending need at the Women’s centre – we have also started collecting small bottles (like 200ml coke bottles) so that gifts of large amounts of shampoo, etc. can be divided up between more people. We also pray regularly for the Project. I visit on behalf of St Peter’s, but we need more volunteers who can give their time – especially people who can speak other languages.

Recently the numbers of asylum seekers coming into Leicester has gone down. But those who are already here are in a terrible predicament – some have literally no income and no benefits, they are not allowed to work (although they would love to make a contribution to the society they’ve fled to) and many are destitute, living on the streets and relying on our gifts of food and other necessities to stay alive.

Can this be right?

Julia Weedon

This entry is dated Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006 at 12.41pm and is filed under News.

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